TIME TO CUT THE BULLSHIT – The Truth About Crime in Winnipeg

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Stats Canada recently crowned Winnipeg the Murder Capital of Canada for 2011 and awarded our City the highest rating on the Violent Crime Severity Index in the Country.

Winnipeg scored 173.8 on the index, which is an increase of 6% over 2010, edging out second place Saskatoon by almost forty points.

The response from the Mayor and the Chief of Police were disappointingly predictable.

“If crime were going up in our city I’d then I’d be very, very concerned. When I see it’s been dropping over the last few years I know we’re headed in the right direction,” Mayor Katz is reported as saying.

Chief McCaskill reportedly added his perspective by stating “Our efforts are working, The violent crime rate is coming down, property crime rates are coming down.”

The status quo fed to the public and media again, more explanations, minimizations and justifications…..don’t be fooled, its all B.S.

Our status as the most violent City in the Country is simply shameful & unacceptable.

I spent eleven years of my twenty-five year Police career working in units specifically tasked with investigating violent crime. Eight years in Homicide and three and a half years working in Division #23 Robbery / Homicide. The balance of my career was spent in patrol and other areas where I was exposed to violent crime on a daily basis.

If I know anything about anything, I know about violent crime in Winnipeg.

The fact is, Winnipeg is a very violent City.

That is true today and has been true for a very long time.

Winnipeg is not a “SAFE” City despite the rhetoric that is spewed from our Political leaders and Chief of Police.

That is the uncensored truth.

I was shocked when I read a quote from Mayor Katz in which he is reported to have stated; “I have no problem going downtown, I have no problem going to the North End, regardless of the day of the week, regardless of what time it is.”

This kind of denial is reckless and dangerous. Worse, it minimizes the very real problems that plague our City.

In March of 2011 I supervised a Homicide Investigation regarding the murder of a twenty-two year old man who was killed during the early evening hours behind the Portage Place Mall.

During the investigation, Detectives interviewed a young male witness who provided a very real and a very scary description of the dynamics of downtown Winnipeg.

This individual was a friend of the murder victim and was at the scene of the crime at the time of the killing. He readily admitted to gang association and to being armed with a sawed off shot gun on the night in question.

It wasn’t just talk or bravado, the deadly weapon was seized by search warrant as part of the investigation.

He didn’t stop there, he described the area as a virtual war zone crawling with rival gangsters all armed with dangerous and offensive weapons of one description or another, guns, knives and pepper spray.

That’s the reality of downtown Winnipeg, that is the truth.

Ask any “informed” Police Officer if they share the Mayors sentiments and you will receive a resoundingly negative response.

The truth is, the downtown and north end are very violent and dangerous parts of our City.

Violent gang members, dangerous adult and young offenders roam our streets every evening and night. If you paid attention you would see that one of our latest murders occurred at 5:30 a.m.

Cherie Anne Richard-20 years senselessly killed in the 500 block of Furby Street.

The truth is that gangsters and criminals currently own the streets in Winnipeg.

The Police are overwhelmed as they respond to seemingly endless emergency calls while the thugs run wild on our City Streets. “Patrol Time” an apparent thing of the past, taking back the streets a romantic idea but simply not possible with current resources.

After indulging myself in local print media a few weeks ago I found prospective solutions in articles written by Tom Brodbeck (SUN) & Dan Lett (WFP).

Brodbeck the usual tough on crime sentiments and Lett, a softer approach suggesting a social solution.

Both reporters offering thoughtful solutions that would miserably fail in isolation.

As someone who has extensive experience investigating violent crime in this City, I can tell you that the perpetrators of these crimes often come with significant addiction issues.

I have personally investigated hundreds of offenders who have committed violent robberies and can assure you that the vast majority of these crimes were not committed for financial gain or profit. These offenders were almost all addicts chasing the next high, be it drugs or alcohol.

My experience in Homicide was similar.

Most killings driven by offenders who were affected by drug or alcohol addiction issues. Drugs or alcohol factoring into the tragic circumstances in one way or another in the majority of cases.

It is my experience that violent offenders are often habitual criminals who have enjoyed decades of “limp dick” justice. Feeble sentences, grossly applied early parole and release philosophies, countless breaches of recognizance and other orders. Horrific crimes, habitual offenders, inadequate sentences, minimal consequences.

The scales of justice so horribly out of balance.

More needs to be done and more must be done.

Any enlightened person who works in Criminal Justice can tell you that drug and alcohol addiction fuels crime and social dysfunction in our City.

Addiction, the number one factor.

Soft justice exacerbates the problem.

Brodbeck & Lett both got it right.

Real leaders would not deny these problems, they would see them as opportunities.

Tom Brodbeck – Winnipeg Sun http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/07/25/unreported-crime-is-a-major-problem

Dan Lett – Winnipeg Free Press http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/hamsterdam-no-solution-to-our-citys-woes-either-163663156.html

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9 comments on “TIME TO CUT THE BULLSHIT – The Truth About Crime in Winnipeg

  1. Will says:

    I work downtown and I’ll say during business hours it doesn’t feel dangerous to me, I don’t really have a problem being downtown at around 10PM after a concert. However no way I’d be hanging around in the middle of the night, and I’d certainly avoid any place north of Portage and Main if at all possible.

    Let’s face it though many of these gangs are around simply because cannabis is illegal, and they can sell it at an insane profit. This gives them plenty of power to recruit, get guns and otherwise make more trouble. If the trade in drugs remains as profitable as it is, I’m not convinced you can shutdown gangs without more springing up. I would love to have a business with 80 or 90% profit margins. When the police do make a bust it simply drives up prices, to the benefit of the other gangs still around.

    • jamesgjewell says:

      Thanks for your comments Will……appreciate your thoughts…..while it is true that most of the gang bangers and thugs don’t keep business hours…..they are definitely out there in the early evening…..keep your eyes open and stay safe……

  2. Kevin says:

    James, you as a former narcotics officer know that drugs and prostitution fuel gangs almost exclusivly. Take that away from them and all they have left is major or petty crimes to commit like shoplifting or robbery. Law enforcement could free up all those resources we now spend on the drug war to go after criminals and put them away for good.

    I assume you are for drug prohibition?

    Have you ever taken an unbiased look at the other side’s argument for repeal and regulation of drugs? Specifically Cannabis?

    While this is not the place to debate the drug war, I encourage you to visit Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (on the web: http://www.leap.cc) and see what some of your peers think about the drug war.

    • jamesgjewell says:

      Kevin….thanks for your comment…….not sure how you arrive at your assumption regarding my personal opinion regarding the drug prohibition issue…..regardless, your proposition breaks down in one critical area…..

      “Law enforcement could free up all those resources we now spend on the drug war to go after criminals and put them away for good.”

      In Canada….we don’t put anyone away for good…..not even close, and not even for the most heinous crimes…..

      I am about to write a blog about another sentencing atrocity….

      There are many broken cogs in the wheel of criminal justice……..a major overhaul is long overdue….

      I checked out your link and found it to be very informative…..thanks very much.

  3. Marty says:

    Personally my view of prostitution is that it’s a waste, but a necessary one. I cannot deny that most research and case studies point to the fact that in societies where prostitution is more commonly accepted and regulated actually enjoy LESS violent sex crimes in most cases. Knowing the girl/guy CAN go to the police if something happens has a lot of deterrent power for abuse from petty thugs, and at least gives them some official status as human beings.

    • jamesgjewell says:

      Legalizing prostitution and / or the creation of a red light district is a very controversial subject in our Country…. .the idea has significant upside when it comes to Health and Safety issues…..it would also broaden our tax base…….people struggle with the moral question……..interesting comment…..thanks Marty…

  4. Marty says:

    I only need to point to history, and a few nations which try to enforce morality as a good enough reason to strongly suggest a move away from morality laws. Theocratic countries like Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and totalitarian countries like China and North Korea all have strict morality or ‘acceptable behavior’ laws, and time and time again we are reminded of how many who live in these countries are subject to human right abuses, civil war, and outside interference/corruption at varying levels. I find prostitution a waste of good human skills, but I would rather not live in a country where I am aggressively reminded of what an ‘acceptable canadian’ is.

  5. Marty says:

    A little thought loop… What has official morality done for us anyways? We can eradicate smallpox and polio, but not AIDS, syphillis or herpes? We protect the poor with social programs, but we officially force prostitues to work outside in dark alleys with no official protection. We look at rape and pedophilia as the worst of social evil, but officially refuse to properly educate canadians on modern sexuality and sexual tolerance in fear of appearing ‘obscene’. We laugh at the gay community but throw the book at anyone who confronts it; Sometimes when it had nothing to do gender preference at all. We preach equality but favour minorities/women in fear of appearing racist or gender biased. Speaking of bias, look at how the US media crucified Kristen Stewart, but regularly networks play shows like Mad Men, where adultry is common and a fact of life among the rich. We cannot enforce morality beyond normal human behavior and every nation’s attempt in history to do so has created misfits, or even misfit cultures. (Roma, or Gypsies)

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